Grid-aware aggregation and realtime disaggregation of distributed energy resources in radial networks
Dispatching a large fleet of distributed energy resources (DERs) in response to wholesale energy market or regional grid signals requires solving a challenging disaggregation problem when the DERs are located within a distribution network. This manuscript presents a computationally tractable convex inner approximation for the optimal power flow (OPF) problem that characterizes a feeders aggregate DERs hosting capacity and enables a realtime, grid-aware dispatch of DERs for radial distribution networks. The inner approximation is derived by considering convex envelopes on the nonlinear terms in the AC power flow equations. The resulting convex formulation is then used to derive provable nodal injection limits, such that any combination of DER dispatches within their respective nodal limits is guaranteed to be AC admissible. These nodal injection limits are then used to construct a realtime, open-loop control policy for dispatching DERs at each location in the network to collectively deliver grid services. The IEEE-37 distribution network is used to validate the technical results and highlight various use-cases.